March 19, 2014

Homeless 14: Voices in the Wilderness

Flag of the State of Colorado

I've been a bit quieter in the blogosphere lately, because I lost about a week to another flare-up of toothache in that poor, beleaguered tooth that is crying out for a root canal. Now that I can once again limp along on over-the-counter painkillers, instead of stupefying narcotics, allow me to give you a truly astonishing update: the state of Colorado has experienced an extraordinary moment of clarity. God willing, this trend will spread.

Remember my first post about this needed root canal, when I explained that Medicaid refuses to cover the procedure? Permit me a brief quote.

The American public could be saved untold millions of dollars every year if Medicaid and Medicare covered conditions that were still mild and as yet easily treatable, but our governmental guidelines define catching and treating a condition early as simply "elective" procedures.

At the federal level, nothing about this statement has changed. I firmly believe that we will see gay marriage as an uncontested, nation-wide policy before "fiscal conservatives" in government realize the fundamental flaw in current Medicaid and Medicare logic. However, the states are permitted to add any coverage they wish to their Medicaid programs, so long as they maintain the federal minimums. Let's hear it for the Colorado legislature! Several years ago, the Colorado Health Foundation provided them with facts about preventive care, and they have begun to listen. A quote from the CHF study:

The research is clear: investing in evidence-based public health programs could substantially reduce health care costs in Colorado. One study estimates that an annual investment of $10 per Coloradan in community-based prevention initiatives could save more than $232 million annually in health care costs after five years...  . 

Beginning April 1, Colorado Medicaid will be providing funding for preventive dental procedures, including *drum roll* ROOT CANALS! I still have to wait and see if I'm deemed eligible for the expanded benefits, and then whether or not my individual case with this tooth is approved. But I'm one step closer to saving my tooth, and for a few minutes, my faith in humanity is bolstered. I watched my parents die slow, torturous deaths because they could not do the things that their doctors recommended to prevent their deterioration; they had to wait until each new problem developed, and then simply have it treated, while we screamed as voices in the wilderness, "This is costing the tax-payers much MORE money!" without ever being heard. Indiana still doesn't hear that voice of reason. Thank God, Colorado has begun listening.

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